Saturday, June 15, 2024

Sewing and Swimming

It’s been another busy week here at Chez Kizerian, but aren’t they all? 

We finally signed the contract on the kitchen remodel and the cabinets have been ordered. We ended up going with maple cabinets in a clear finish - very light, much like the cabinets in our old house. Anyway, the cabinets take between 5-8 weeks to be built. Our general contractor will give us a timeline in a couple weeks, once he knows more from the cabinet manufacturers and he can also touch base with the sub contractors. We’re most likely looking at sometime in late July or early August for demolition of the existing kitchen. That usually happens a couple weeks before the cabinets are ready, in order to have time for the plumbers, electrician and sheetrock guys to come and do their things. Then it’s cabinet installation, counter tops and tile, more electrician work (lighting) and plumber finish work, painters and flooring guys (why do I say “guys”? Maybe there will be a woman or two in the trades to show up! One can hope). September is looking like when we’ll be done. I am going to keep two silver linings in mind as we go through the miserable process: (1) I’ll be cooking a lot less and (2) It’ll all be worth it when it’s all done. 

It was lovely to spend lots of time in the sewing room this week. June is All the Blues for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC), and here is what I got accomplished:

First up on my To-Do List for the week was the 16-patch star block, a simple yet stunning pattern from Julie .  I usually only make two per month, but blue is a wide color range. So this month I made three - a dark, a medium and a pastel blue. 

Those Star blocks are always fun to make! They’ll finish at 12”. 

Next up were the windmill blocks (to finish at 8”).

I’ve also started working on my blue string blocks. I’m hoping to get at least 56 made so that I can once again make a completely blue string quilt.. But this time I’m combining all shades of blue in each block. I’ll show them all next week. 

And apropos of nothing, here is a random picture of the heavenly condo complex we live in. This was taken from our seats on the upper deck of the pool area. The water is great and the view is just as lovely!

Come to think of it, there’s a lot of blue in that picture too! Can you see our wet footprints? 

But it wasn't all fun and sewing and swimming this week. There was work around the condos (grooming up the planted island at the entrance, and organizing zone captains), plus a trip - likely first of several - to the Veteran’s Administration (VA) to get Bruce registered and start the process for receiving benefits, which we should have done years ago. But we’re on our way. There’s a back story there, but that’s for another time. 

And with that, I’m off to play in our courtyard garden this morning and then maybe to sew. Or maybe some swimming? Or a trip to Lowe’s to get materials to put up a design board in my sewing room? Or even a nap! Oh, the possibilities! Life is good. 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Blue Sewing and Blue Skies

So, here it is Saturday again. Who turned the Time Machine up to warp speed? The days just seem to fly by! Summer has arrived here, and the temperatures have been in the 80s-90s (F) this week. The swimming pool is a welcome respite, but we did have to finally turn on the air conditioner yesterday. 

In a nutshell, because we’re running out to participate in the condo’s annual yard sale momentarily, I’ll sum up my week: Lots of walking, swimming, some sewing, condo meetings and chores, a visit from our dear friend Terri (love you, T! Wish we lived closer!), and we have finalized the kitchen remodel contract. We’ll get the timeline on Monday, and we’re also meeting with a painter to get a bid on the kitchen and family room (and possibly the bathrooms). 

It took me For.Ev.Er to get my blue scraps sorted - what an “overgrown” mess they were! But they’re sorted and I have lots of cutting and prep done for my blue blocks this month. Since we’re combining all the blues for Blue June in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I have more than the usual number of blocks to tackle this month. 

All I got actually sewn were these six Color Stix blocks, a free pattern from Cynthia Brunz.

On one of our evening walks, I snapped this photo of our street.. The street is actually the only long one in the complex, and I’m standing at the very southern end and you can see the very northern end.

The Little Cottonwood Creek along our western border is running at peak levels. The snowpack melts quickly in the June heat. It will likely stay this way for a couple weeks before tapering off. 

Alfie is living his best life, sunbathing in the morning light.

After this picture, he started doing “bunny kicks” with his rear feet. He gets so excited when Mommy takes his picture! 

We’re off to the yard sale. We don’t have much to put out, but there are a few things. Once we get home from that (noonish), we’ll either go swimming and/or just kick back in the cool house and read or sew or nap! They’re all great choices!! 

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Goodbye Beautiful May, Hello June

It’s been a great week here in the Salt Lake Valley. I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day. Ours was quiet, but nice and restful. 

Tuesday was a gorgeous day, sunny and bright. That is, until I changed into my swimsuit and coverup. The clouds came out to threaten, but I walked to the condo pool a block away anyway. The wind came up and all the cotton from the cottonwood trees began falling and swirling like snow. By the time I’d sat and talked with friends at the pool for about 15 minutes, the surface of the pool was entirely covered with cotton! But I wanted to get in anyway, so I did! I just splashed and cleared an area for me to immerse up to my neck and paddle around for a few minutes. Then I called it good, got out and dried off, donned my shorts and coverup and walked home with the friends. Two hours later, the sun was out again and the cottony wind abated. I hope my next pool foray will be more successful, hehe. My friend Karen said it took her two hours to clean/skim the pool when I saw her later that evening as I was out walking. 

On Wednesday, Bruce and I drove up to Ogden to visit my friend Pat and her husband Eddie. I hadn’t seen them for about 8 years, and Bruce had never met them. Pat had a load of fabric to pawn off donate to me and Quilts for Kids, my friends or whomever could use it. The fabric, in a half dozen almost full tubs, came from her twin sister who no longer quilts due to health issues. 

L-R: Bruce, Cathy (me), Pat, Eddie

So, on Thursday, my friend Ruby came over and we spent about four and a half hours sorting through the fabric. My plan was that anything I took for myself would be primarily things that would work as quilt backs for my kids quilts, or small scraps in colors I was getting low on. I also ended up keeping a quilt that just needs to be trimmed and bound (and donated), a set of blocks ready to be sewn together, and green scraps that may potentially match a quilt I’m planning for another friend (story on that to come in a couple weeks). Oh, and fabrics for more potential kennel quilts. But my storage space here is limited. So, for everything I do end up keeping, the plan is to remove from my existing stash (and donate to QFK) an equal or greater amount of fabric. 

Ruby took several in-process quilt tops and block sets that were clearly not intended for kids. She also took some yardage and lots of precut squares in sizes from 2.5” to 10”. I had recently shown her an easy way to make 4 half-square triangles from 2 blocks of equal size, so she wanted to match up some of the squares to try that method out. She’ll take what will work and return the rest so they can be passed on. When her stuff was taken home, I snapped this picture of the remaining fabric. Down to 3 tubs and a few piles! 

Much of the fabric is too dark or too thin or just wrong for kids quilts. That’s what those three tubs in the foreground are. Cousin Kim will go through those on Sunday, then the remaining fabric, probably 2-3 tubs full, will be donated to my friend Bernadette who works with several other quilting charity quilt groups, like Project Linus, guilds who make placemats for Meals on Wheels, retirement homes and the like. No scrap left behind!!

So anyway, I haven’t made a start on my June Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks yet. Angela has called blue for June. We usually divide blue into two months; darks/brights one month and lighter blues another month. But this year Angela wants us to just go for it with all the blues together and I’m up for the challenge! I did get my blue scraps all sorted and made a list of all the blocks I need to sew in June, so I’m ready to jump in with both feet!

I did finish up the last of my pink scraps and made eleven crumb blocks that will finish at 6”.

I also sewed up a column of pink scraps. Here are the five columns I have made so far this year.

I’m going to sew two blue columns this month, and the width of at least one of them will be a couple inches wider for size variety. 

Here’s a recent pic I snapped of the brilliant red of our Japanese maple, the green of the other landscaping and the blue of the sky. 

And one picture taken as I looked up, mesmerized. 

What can I say? I love color. And so do all the quilters who participate in Scrappy Saturday and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. So why not follow the link and come check it out? Until next week, be safe and be happy!

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Running in Circles

Two steps forward and one step backward. (Or is that one step forward and two steps back?) Same old same old. Spinning my wheels. Pick your cliche’! Basically, those are all overused ways of saying what I’m feeling these days. Uninspired. Tired - of crappy weather, of too many errands, of a To-Do list that never seems to get shorter and never seems to produce anything when items do get checked off. I have too little time to sew and too little motivation (restlessness) when I do get time to sew. Is this old-lady-onset ADHD? I think I need a good day of sunshine, a nice stiff margarita, and a day with no obligations, LOL.

After a stormy day today, the weather is finally forecast to clear up and warm up as the long Memorial Day weekend unfolds. Our condo’s pool is opening on Monday, and I plan to take serious advantage of it this season. 

There actually has been some sewing going on here, along with all the many other things. I’m now officially on the HOA Board (as an alternate until November’s annual meeting), and Bruce and I are still waiting for the final kitchen remodel bid. But this week we did have a ceiling fan installed in the master bedroom and picked out paint colors and bedding for that room. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. 

But let’s talk about May’s pink scraps. I managed to get 32 pink string blocks (finished size 6”) sewn over the last two weeks (I didn’t have a blog post last week), and added a couple dozen of the light neutral/white string blocks to make a scrappy string top. The light blocks were made last fall during my string frenzy. 

I think it will look better when it’s finished off with pink binding. The top measures 42x48”.

And I’ve also been working here and there on the Anne of Green Gables quilt. Here are the first two (of 5) rows up on my “design wall”. That’s just a plain wall in my sewing room and some painters tape. Sorry the lighting is so bad. It’s just been dark and gloomy weather lately…

My goal is to get the top finished this week and hopefully basted as well. I’d like to gift it to my friend Ann sometime in early June.

I have a few garden/courtyard pictures to share, even though there is no sunshine in them!

Everything in the Greenstalk planter has sprouted  - and needs to be thinned. There is alyssum in the top tier (not shown). Then there’s lettuce, carrots, basil and spinach (or is it spinach and then basil?) Whatever.

We also have a small tomato plant in the foreground pot and a rhubarb plant loving its life behind the pot. After the season, the rhubarb will be moved to another location so I can plant a rose there. It’s the sunniest spot in the courtyard. That is, when the sun deigns to make an appearance.

The rhubarb will eventually go in the area behind the serpent in the picture below. The rest of everything - a mix of annuals in the foreground and perennials along the back  - will fill in as time goes by. 

Here is the flowering almond bush that is on the outside of the gate to our courtyard. Its tiered flowers almost remind me of strings of garland on a Christmas tree. They smell heavenly. 

That’s about all I have for you this week, but at least it’s something. I’ll be sewing the rainy afternoon away today. We have no formal plans for the weekend yet, but that may change. See you next week, and thanks for dropping by!

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s blog

Saturday, May 11, 2024

A Quick Hello

First of all, I’d like to all you US moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow. Mine will be spent with family either in person or by phone calls for those out of our area. I hope you get all the flowers and chocolate and loving you want and deserve! 

Sewing remained a peripheral activity for me this week. I do have some sewing things to share, but most of my days were spent with friends, running errands, meeting with contractors and HOA “stuff”. Life seems to have sped up with the coming of Spring!

On Wednesday, four of us friends went to visit the public Open House of the new Taylorsville, Utah LDS (Mormon) Temple. Pictured below, left to right, are Ellie, me, Donna and Ruby. 

The Temple was stunningly beautiful in every respect. My favorite things were the beautiful stained glass windows that featured artistic interpretations of Utah wildflowers. But the marble inlay, paintings, African mahogany woodwork and crystal chandeliers were spectacular as well. It was sumptuous but at the same time very serene and reverent (large crowds notwithstanding). 

After our tour, we lunched at a sweet little cafe and art shop near my home. It was a bit too breezy to have our salads outside on their dining patio, so we ate indoors and then toured the boutique gift shop. It was a fun way to spend a few hours with friends!

In sewing news, I completed the two Star blocks in pink. We’re working through our pink scraps in May for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. In the week ahead I’ll be focusing on my pink strings. 

No progress was made on the Anne of Green Gables quilt this week. Instead, I focused on pressing new clothes, taking in seams in some old clothes, and shopping for new (smaller) underthings. 

We have selected a contractor to work with on our upcoming kitchen remodel. Most of the materials have been selected. They - the general contractor and the electrician - will visit on Monday to take final measurements and “fill in the blanks” in the numbers. We’re getting the financing in place and are beginning to check out potential new appliances. Hopefully we’ll sign a contract and get the ball rolling in the next 10 days. 

These are samples of most of the things we’ve selected. The top piece is the oak cabinet wood, which they still need to check availability and timing on. Below that are the tiles for the backsplash areas. They’re not white, but a creamy almond color with lots of variations, not visible in these two tiles. 

Below the tiles is a sample of the quartz countertop. We wanted minimal (not exaggerated) veining in it. And lastly, at the bottom, is the plank flooring that will extend from the kitchen to the family room and down our L-shaped hall. 

In the coming week I’ll be doing some more flower pot planting, and we have a community-wide luncheon here at the condo complex. The theme is Cinco do Mayo (belated). Hopefully some sewing and cards with friends will round out the week. Oh, and I need to get an RSV shot and my 10-year tetanus booster. We both have prescriptions to pick up at Costco today, so I guess we’ll be fighting the crowds to get that all done. 

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Some Pink Sewing

Hello friends! I was happy to finish up two of my chosen monthly blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week. For the month of May, we are focusing on beating back our pink scraps. My pink scraps somehow manage to multiply when I’m not looking, so there’s no chance of clearing them all out this month! But I did manage to sew up:

Three Color Sticks Blocks:

and two Windmill Blocks:

This week was once again filled with errands and gatherings and contractors. I’ll spare you all the details, but the highlights included Bruce’s birthday (we had a lovely dinner at a fancy restaurant), my annual physical (all is well), a visit from family who helped us hang the last of the pictures and things (until after the remodel, anyway), more contractors - plumbers, landscapers (checking out the sprinkler system valve), and a coffee date with a new friend. And several walks around the lush, green condo grounds. 

Next week we meet to finalize plans with one of the bidding kitchen contractors and possibly sign a contract if all goes well. Fingers crossed! I have two gatherings with women friends next week, plus a couple of friends (a couple we used to pal around with) from the old neighborhood are coming over one evening to see the new place. 

Friend Ruby and I will be taking a public tour of the new Mormon Temple that’s been built here in the Salt Lake Valley. The LDS Church always lets the public tour (much of it) before a new temple is officially dedicated. Ruby has been once already and says the paintings, stained glass, woodwork and sheer artistry throughout is incredible and awe-inspiring. And this morning (Saturday) Bruce and I spent a couple hours with the young couple who bought our old home to give them a crash course on drip irrigation and help them out. They also invited us to come in and check out some of the changes they’ve made. They’re such sweethearts, and we had a good time. They don’t have any local family, so we feel good about being a safety net and source of information to them on the house and yard. 

Our grandson Easton - the one who’s a Nuclear Engineer in the Navy - got home from a duty assignment a couple weeks ago. Here’s a picture of his submarine coming in to port. 

Easton and Madalyn driving home after being apart for a few weeks. I love this picture!!

This weekend I begin sewing sashings and cornerstones to the Anne of Green Gables quilt blocks I’m making. Hopefully I can get the quilt top partly or even mostly assembled this coming week. 

Oh! Bruce and I took a couple hours to assemble a new cat condo for Darla and Alfalfa one afternoon. The cats were good inspectors, and promptly took up residence. They seem to really like it. Darla insisted that I get some pictures of it and them next week. Who am I to refuse a direct order from our feline overlords?

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Rain, Remodeling Bids, New Friends, and Even Some Sewing!

Life is so full, that I’m overflowing! And I’m not even talking about my weight! But since I did say the “W” word, I’ll admit did gain a few pounds during the early part of April. But I’ve lost all but 2 of those pounds since. I’m well below my goal weight, but still about 3-4 pounds over my personal goal of -75 pounds down. I’m hoping the weight gain had something to do with “shape-shifting” - exchanging fat for muscle, because last Sunday my pajama bottoms actually fell down while I was walking around the house! Never trust pajama bottoms when they become low-riders on your hips!

But let’s get on to the sewing part of our program, shall we? Since I had already finished up all my Yellow April Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks, I only have a yellow block recap to show you. 

What I worked on this week was the Anne of Green Gables Quilt for my friend. There are a total of 20 blocks in the pattern, and I had already made five previously. So, of the remaining 15 to sew, I got 12 made. 

Here’s a picture of most of them,. Two of the blocks are barely visible in the upper left corner, draped over a sewing machine.

It will be quick work today to finish up the remaining three blocks before moving on to assembly with sashing and cornerstones. 

As the blog post title today indicates, we’ve been getting remodeling bids for the kitchen. Mostly we’ve just met with the designers at the cabinet companies and had them out to measure and draw up plans. We’re still waiting for the final bid to arrive next week. These bids will include the cabinets and countertops, with tear down and haul-away of the old stuff and the floorplans and elevations and technical specs for the other trades.

We will have to arrange and pay for the electrical, plumbing, tiling (backsplashes), painting and flooring separately, although they will all work together seamlessly (in theory). And the designers from the cabinet companies provide timelines and work with us to help shepherd the other trades (be the General Contactor, so to speak) on the project. But all I see now is the costs go up and up (think of money growing wings and flying away). We’re actually starting with some plumbing things this week - too long and involved and boring to go into here. But I’m sure getting an education! And right now we’re looking at a finish date of August or September. It’s going to be one eventful summer!

I did snap a couple photos in our courtyard before the April Showers appeared this week.

Above, Ringo - named by my granddaughter Lauren when she and I painted it together a few years ago -  made his appearance in the courtyard as the official mascot. His base needs some touch-ups. 

The bleeding heart we “inherited” is blooming profusely now, although this picture showing the early bloom stages is still lovely. You can see some of my clean-out debris (branches) behind it. I’m working that into our trash bins weekly. 

And the new friends? Besides helping out with some of the garden projects involving the common areas of our condo complex, I’ve been attending the weekly card games at the clubhouse. So much fun to make. new friends. Three ladies even came by yesterday to ask me to join an impromptu gathering at one friends’s house yesterday afternoon. And I learned in the process that one of the ladies knew Bruce’s late sister Fay (Cousin Kim’s mom) and some of our friends up in Bountiful, Utah, where Bruce grew up. Small world! 

I think that wraps it up for this week. I hope to have some fresh pictures, stories and sewing for you next week. We are having a “picture-hanging party” with the family here tonight. Maybe then we’ll finally be ready for some photos.